Was General Reserve Allocation Set too high last year?

“Why has allocation to reserves been reduced this year when it was only set at £1.5m last year, especially if we are so low on reserves.”

  • Cllr Pervez said: Due to strong financial management, the city council was able to increase its general reserves slightly in 2010/11. It is also planning to make a further £1.5m contribution in 2011/12 with a further contribution planned in 2012/13. These additional contributions will meet the advised reserves level by the Section 151 officer. The situation will need to be monitored throughout 2012/13.

Cllr Pervez reply differs from what is in the Budget Proposal

2-BS04 saving of £1.5Million – This saving assumes that the General Fund delivers a balanced budget this year. The s151 Officer’s professional opinion is that a further contribution to the General Fund Reserve in 2012/13 and beyond would not be needed if the financial plans that have been approved this year are delivered. The reserves position will need to be monitored on a quarterly basis.

I would hardly call the £1million increase in 2010 as slight from £500,000 to £1.5million per year, it could of been a less drastic increase, meaning less drastic cuts would have need to be made. This is now bourne out by the fact that no further addition is required meaning a steady increase like the original £500,000 a year would of achieved, with added bonus extra £1million for the budget last year

Which is correct the budget report or the Council Leader, was the reserve allocation set too high last year?

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My Budget Consultation Submission

To be removed from the Budget Proposal

 

Code Description

value £’000

 Comment

INV-CE02 New Assistant Director

106

in August 2010 the Council setup Low Carbon Task Force, the Report said The task force will not require any additional staffing resources as it will be serviced by a multidisciplinary team of existing Council Officers
INV-CYP08 To reduce SEN reliance on more expensive forms of transport whilst ensuring their safety.

200

What are you investing in? Can’t it be funded from the predicted savings, a client uses taxi weekdays £10 over month £200 to be used on training for next client. Ad is it the client or their Carer that would need training
INV-CR04 Project Manager for Hanley redevelopment

60

any overlap with INV-CR16, what is current number officers managers within Make it Stoke
INV-CR11 Winter sports and speed bump removal

179

Is now the time to be investigating NEW leisure when you’re closing, cutting down, increasing prices at others? Why were the speed bumps placed in College Road Originally, to prevent accidents? Will other roads now get option to have speed bumps removed?
INV-CR16 New officer to address gaps in relation to higher quality hotels and restaurants in city centre confirmed plans

50

any overlap with INV-CR04, what is current number officers managers within Make it Stoke
INV-CR20 Dedicated resources to deliver a  high quality hotels

26

again any overlaps?
INV-ANS06 Provide personalised services that support reablement. Develop effective support planning for service users and ensure their needs are met by the market.

75

Shouldn’t the Council already be doing this, what actually are you investing in, who is currently providing the support?
INV-ANS06 Challenge the current community resources for people with high level needs to reduce long term reliance on public services

70

what actually are you investing in? If reducing community resources and passing service users to private sector?
INV-ANS11 Creation of a new swimming pool at Dimensions.

500

Use the resources along with local groups to re-open existing facilities, saving the councils carbon footprint created by  a new build
3-BS02 Lord Mayor/Deputy Lord Mayor – no ceremonial duties or functions

130

This expense cannot be justified, in this day and age, do we cling to the past or move on, no sacred cows

Total removed

1396

Services to be kept and funded form the above

Code Description

value £’000

 Comment

INV-CR31 ARBOR

TBC

Why is this not costed, this should already be in process?
INV-CR33 To locate an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant within the city and to source waste streams and fuel crops including potentially grown on council land to generate energy.

TBC

Why is this not costed, this should already be in process?
1-CR06 Reduction in Passenger Transport co-ordination services

35

Would seem to go against £528.000 INV-CR23 to ensure the city’s transport network operates efficiently, both for private vehicles and the city’s bus network.
2-CR01 Loss of dedicated Town Regeneration Managers service

77

The other towns have exciting investment opportunities too that need managing
2-CR12 Review of Community Halls service.

162

Will lead to breakdown of community cohesion and identity
3-CYP02 Reduction 0.8 FTE early years development officer.

31

The Early years is where the works is needed
3-CYP03 Reduction in the central management team responsible for Children’s Centres

84

The Early years is where the works is needed
3-CYP05 Reduction in staff responsible for the quality assurance of placements for children in care.

30

We are corporate parents would we send our child to a nursery without reviewing checking visiting
3-CYP07 Non replacement of items for the equipment library for childcare

90

Then they be no library and then fewer childminders, then what?
3-CYP08 Discontinuation of the NSPCC contract to support children traumatised by domestic abuse.

40

but were also cutting funding to safer city partnership £165,000 2-LOC02, who we hope will pick up after NSPCC
3-LOC02 Closure of 7  Youth centres

389

Give the youth a chance
5-CYP01 Review of the capacity within the Placement Support Team that works with children who have a social care involvement and are at risk of entering the care system.

87

To offer vulnerable children the best option of happy stable life
2-ANS10 School Swimming – Review of Charges.

50

If they do not learn to swim how will they in future use Council Leisure facilities

Total Services Kept

1075

to be funded from the above removed item

District Auditor and Dimensions

I am shocked that yet again secret deals are allowed to be done within our civic centre, ok I can’t be that shocked its been going on for years and its no wonder when there are NO checks and balances.

The District Auditor who one awesome carries out these checks and balances is willing to close an investigation down on a PRESUMPTION (see below 16th December email highlighted in red for the anger I feel). How can an audit or a budget report be based on presumptions there must be hard and fast evidence to justify the decisions taken by our City Council and our Auditors.

Had our Councillors known there was an extra £100,000 in the finances they may have taken a different route in the Budget setting

Why would Officers and Leading Members decided to hold Telling Councillors this information until AFTER Dimensions was closed?

The District Auditor finds that the Council acted Legally as NO payments were actually made to a 3rd Party, as NO payments made Councillors had not been mis-informed so the Budget remains legal. Well sorry put what does the District Auditor think the £44,000 settlement was if not a payment, caused in many peoples minds to have a risen from the secrecy of this whole sorrid affair.

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Questions I put to Cll Pervez during Online Consultation

ian_norris: In November 2011, the number of assistant directors was reduced from 19 to 15 saving £424,000, but the City Council now propose to take on another assistant director costing £106,000.
Why the Sudden change to number of Assitant Directors required?What safeguard are in place to stop one the the recent redundant assistant directors being taken back on?

Mohammed Pervez:  As far as I know the job has not been evaluated yet so I do not know where the £106k comes from. The post is considered to be essential to further develop new low carbon and commercial enterprise opportunities in the City.

Comment: The £106,000 comes from the Chief Executives Investment Aspirations report,  in August 2010 the Council setup Low Carbon Task Force, the Report said

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Transcript of online budget consultation

5:31
Cllr Pervez is here now. We are ready to take your questions.
5:33
Comment From James Perch

Hello cllr. I asked a question about why you and the chief executive have not taken a pay cut to show we are all in this together during the budget cuts?

5:34
SoTcitycouncil:

Cllr Pervez is now responding to your questions, James.

Changes to Traffic in Hanley

Bus Lane to be removed on Huntbach Street as Buses will no longer use Town Road
Contra-flow Bus Lane to be added on Marsh Street from GO Outdoors to Trinity SteetStafford Street – No motor vehicles  from 10am to 6pm except buses, taxis and cycles
Old Hall Street, Percy Street and Tontine Street – No motor vehicles from 10am to 6pm
Bethesda Street outside Museum – No motor vehicles at any time except buses, taxis, cycles

Zebra Crossing installed across Pall Mall in the Pedestrianised Cultural Quarter

For the full report and details read the Cabinet Report